Leadership - Building With People

July 30, 2023

by Bob Cannon

From my earliest days in Sunday school, I have remembered the words that a wise man builds his house upon the rock and the foolish man builds upon the sand. For 50 years, I thought this probably sound advice for someone about to build a house. It never dawned on me that it might have some other application until I heard the following quote from Peter Drucker. “The task of leadership is to create an alignment of strengths in ways that make weaknesses irrelevant.”
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That statement unlocked doors in my mind and with it came the realization that success really does come from building on strengths. All too often we focus on problems (weaknesses = sand) and struggle to overcome them when in fact, we would be much better off focusing on what is working (strengths = rock) and building on them.

Over the course of my career, I have had a variety of bosses. Most tried to fix me. I did have one boss who stood up before the whole sales organization and told them he had complete faith in me. I didn’t realize it at the time, but my boss motivated me in a way that I would have walked through fire for him.

In fact, I didn’t really understand what he had done and how it affected me until I became soccer coach and tried a positive approach to leadership. By praising the desired actions of players, I was encouraging the other players to perform in a similar fashion. You get what you praise and reward (a lesson some organizations including our government should learn). In reality, I was building on strengths (the rock) just as my boss had done.

What about your organization? Are you still playing in the sand or are you building on rock?

Bob Cannon helps visionary leaders enhance performance and profitability in their organizations. Check out other interesting articles available in the Taking Aim newsletter available at http://www.cannonadvantage.com . Bob can be reached at (216) 408-9495 or mailto: aim@cannonadvantage.com

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4 Responses to “Leadership - Building With People”

  1. Howie on August 2nd, 2007 3:52 am

    I totally agree. It’s why when we want to be good at something we focus on our strengths and not on our weaknesses. Good leaders need strength to overcome obstacles and not weaknesses.

  2. Charlie on August 2nd, 2007 9:06 pm

    The rock and sand is a great example. It is common knowledge, but a lot of leaders still forget this basic principle. Others are simply ignoring it even with the the knowledge.

  3. Sara on August 5th, 2007 9:38 am

    I have had several people take interest in me that I will believe in until I die.

    Thank you.

  4. Harveen on August 7th, 2007 11:57 am

    To build on one’s strenth is to come that much closer to the success you seek. I believe it is just as easy to fill your head with thoughts of your positive qualities as it is to fill your head with thoughts of your negative ones. So, why not do it?

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